Menthol Cigarette Ban Rule Delayed

On April 26th, the Biden Administration announced that it delayed its plan to ban menthol cigarettes. In 2021, the Biden Administration began pursuing a ban on menthol cigarettes, but the plan was delayed as the White House mulled its political repercussions especially among the black community. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra did not say when or if the administration would revisit the issue, nor did he mention the fate of a related proposal to ban flavored cigars. “This rule has garnered historic attention, and the public comment period has yielded an immense amount of feedback, including from various elements of the civil rights and criminal justice movement,” he said. “It’s clear that there are still more conversations to have, and that will take significantly more time.”

Earlier this year, PPA Executive Vice President Ted Harris, along with PPA member Brian Waugh (Par Mar Stores / Countywide Petroleum) met with the White House Office of Management and Budget to call on the Biden Administration to abandon the proposed menthol ban. PPA highlighted FDA’s failure to enforce its ban on flavored vapes which has led to a flood of illegal, disposable vapes manufactured in China and marketed to children. A menthol prohibition will drive legitimate transactions out of stores and into the illicit market, hurting small businesses and funding violent crime. There is no scientific evidence to support a nationwide public health policy that would treat menthol cigarettes differently than other cigarettes. PPA also highlighted the proposed menthol ban’s impact on small businesses across the country. Banning the use of menthol in cigarettes could also have a cascading effect on companies who supply fuel to independently owned and operated small business gas stations.